The real estate market has been in a frenzy for many years now. And while 2022 looks likely to see a slowdown, this doesn't necessarily mean less home inspections.
If the market swings away from a seller's market, home inspectors may find more work despite less home sales. For the last few years, home inspections have been waived left and right, with many homes selling within 24 hours, or even sight unseen.
Despite the doom and gloom headlines, it could be a very good time to get into home inspecting. If you're efficient. That's where smart home inspection apps and mobile tools come in.
It's a competitive industry, and home inspectors with sub-par reports and communication may be crowded out as realtors get more selective. They'll be looking for quality and reliability.
Home Inspection apps aren't just a minor piece of your business. Many of the best apps can go far beyond just reports. They can literally power your business with scheduling, email, and billing. That's why your software can be a big decision.
(SPOLIER ALERT: We're probably going to recommend going with Spectora in this article. But that doesn't mean we can't be objective. Whomever you go with, here are the things you truly want from your software)
There are lots of different apps on the market for different types of inspections, and it's important to find the right one for your specific company.
When you consider cost, remember that the cost of software is minor if you have a steady stream of inspections. The cost of even the most expensive software can be recouped in a single inspection. This let's most inspectors focus on quality and value, and you should too.
Is your app just for inspections? Or does it have a suite of functions for the other aspects of your business? Remember, having many different programs to rely on can get overwhelming, and expensive. When you're thinking about features, look for these:
A simple test for how smooth and app works is to imagine yourself in a crawlspace, wearing headgear, using your app lying on your stomach and wearing gloves. Remember that even little inconveniences are magnified during an inspection.
For mobile applications, look for apps with large buttons that you can easily tap and a simple design you could navigate and understand anywhere from the top of the roof to the sump pump of the basement. If you can trial or demo the app, check to make sure it's easy to use and navigate one-handed.
Don't forget about desktop functionality as well! Some apps have a desktop version that feels like an afterthought. Make sure it feels great for your at-home work.
Look for apps that offer industry-standard InterNACHI templates and the option to use pre-populated comments, as this can significantly speed up the note-taking process.
Also, look for an app and software that allow you to create your own templates and even see other inspector templates. Strong home inspection apps will even have a library of templates that you can enhance and modify.
This one is huge. Online-only apps simply don't perform if you're in an area with poor cell service. Zero in on software that has offline performance so you can inspect the property, make comments, and complete the report through information saved locally on your device.
This helps you save on battery life and excess data charges. Apps specifically built for offline functionality also give you more peace of mind that you won't lose all your hard work due to a bad connection.
Believe it or not, some apps don't have device sync. That means that when you get home and try and pull up your inspection that you started on a tablet, it's not on your desktop!
If you prefer to inspect the property with your mobile device in hand but would rather finish up the report on your laptop, real-time syncing across multiple devices streamlines communication and operations. If you hire a second inspector or an office admin, this will become essential.
Excellent photos help your reports stand apart from competitors (and they can protect your business). The key to look for here is photos that aren't compressed by the app, which make them easier to store in the cloud but degrade their image quality.
Remember that your clients may need to look at very small parts of your images to see defects. When homebuyers and other clients can refer to well-lit, crystal-clear images in their reports, they have less frustration. You also have photos to refer to if your clients have questions or want more detail.
Choose inspection apps that give you easy saving and syncing options from any device. Good options allow you to share in-progress reports, upload the data so you can finish the report away from the house, or publish your final inspection report straight from your phone.
You don't want a one-and-done app. Instead, invest in software that is constantly updating with new templates, new features, and improved patches or bug fixes so you're never left with a defunct app. When you're shopping around, look if an app has some sort of changelog or update center where you can see their fixes.
Coming to work with the wrong tools might save you some money, but you'll be drowning yourself in busy work over the long term. Creating streamlined, efficient processes that save time for the details that need your attention is the best way to grow your business.
And in case you were wondering: Yes, Spectora has all of the features above. But hey, we're bias. But you know whose not? Our 7,000 home inspectors who love us!
Check out 13 tips to get started on your own or schedule a demo to see it for yourself.